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Weather, Utilities And Contractor Troubles Set Back Pedestrian Tunnel Opening

Park City Municipal Corporation

The pedestrian tunnel under Kearns Blvd. is way behind schedule, due to weather, utilities and performance issues by the contractor. 

The State Route 248 pedestrian tunnel was meant to be completed by the time school started in August. Now, the finish date is anticipated for mid-November. Park City senior transportation planner Julia Collins has been managing the project on the city’s end. Collins says the wet spring played a part in the delay, but working with the contractor, Stapp Construction, has also been challenging.

“Our levels of expectations of service have not been met with performance and timely delivery from them," Collins said. "We were presented with a completed schedule prior to awarding bid that they would meet that four-month timeline, and they have not met that end of the agreement.”

Collins says additional issues stemmed from difficulty in locating utility lines.

“We knew that the Rocky Mountain Power main electrical line was in that area, and when we got into the ground and started digging, it was right in a location that had a main conflict with the south side wall," Collins said. "So, we had to work with [the Utah Department of Transportation] and Rocky Mountain Power and our engineering team to design a solution that would relocate that line.”

The tunnel connects Park City High School with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seminary building across Kearns Blvd. It’s intended to increase transit access to neighborhoods; increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians; and reduce traffic congestion due to the previous crosswalk signal, which Collins said resulted in traffic delays adding up to eight hours per day.

Councilmember Nann Worel asked if the city had any recourse, given the difficulties with the contractor. Transportation Director Alfred Knotts says the contract outlines penalties that are assessed daily, and the city will work with the contractor when the project is completed to determine whether to take action.

"We just want to get this project done, so we've been doing a very good job on our paperwork and our documentation to have that conversation at the conclusion of the contract," Knotts said.

As a result of the extended project timeline and the unforeseen utilities issues, the city council approved $166,000 in additional funding for Horrocks Engineers and Rocky Mountain Power Tuesday, bringing the project budget up to $4 million. The project is funded entirely by Summit County Transportation sales tax revenues.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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